Falling out of love with dreams

J Dawson
6 min readApr 7, 2022
Photo by Milivoj Kuhar on Unsplash

I don’t love to write the way I used to. My lofty dreams of sitting in a crowded bookstore filled with people there to see me are nothing but memories. I’m starting to think that’s a good thing — a needed motivation with stakes in order to progress my story.

At some point I became a plot issue in my own life. Back when I hosted “Too Many Words” one of my favorite writers Delilah Dawson had come on the show. Writers block had come up. She was explaining she rarely had suffered from it, but while writing Servants of the Storm in the beginning she hit a spot and lost her sight. She explained that she had strayed from what the character would do and inserted her own reaction thus stopping the story in its tracks, so since then, she remains aware of making decisions that flow with the character.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Both this conversation and the fact that I’ve hit a hall. Not in a story I’m working on, but in life. I’ve stopped writing fiction all together. I can no longer look ahead and see anything. As a neurodivergent kid of two addicts, I am fully aware that what one envisions doesn’t exactly equate to reality, but it is still direction. Suddenly, I feel without any.

I had pictured having hoards of admires, devout readers like I was to Sarah Dessen and Neil Gaiman since I was in grade school. Writing to me a was a fervent passion that I took through high school (the part I finished), into college, out of college, through parenthood, and up until recently. The sight and hunger wasn’t only the success but the acting complex worlds full of hopeless people. Meeting characters. Feeling bursts of their desire, their pain. Finding songs that make me think of the world and keeping it on repeat. It’s like young love. So much promise and possibility. I was about the plot and the dialogue. Unfolding things. All with the idea that I would end up somewhere successful. Well, somewhere I was imagining.

(I’m learning success is still success even if it isn’t what I imagined it to be. Even if it’s grinding and hard to see barely wins.)

I’ve written six books in the last five years and queried four of them. I’ve written and submitted over a dozen short stories. All come down to the same kind of NO. Close but not quite. Really good but we went a different way…

J Dawson

Writes literary fiction with a speculative bent. A parent of teens. Accidental house flipper. Friend of cats and dogs. Kindness matters. ND Bi (she/they)